Haruhi Wars: I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am

Dotdash over at Plot Shield appointed himselfDefender of the faith” of Haruhiism recently. To hear him tell it, it was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It was a decision he did not make lightly, but duty called, and he rose to meet the challenge.

Gaze upon your inebriated demiurge! With thanks to darkmirage.

Gaze upon your inebriated demiurge! With thanks to darkmirage.

Colony Drop was the challenger. Their criticisms of Haruhi are many, including calling it a “harem” show, but this salvo aimed at Haruhi herself is perhaps the meat of the matter:

She’s an ADD case whose every whim must be entertained right now. She can only express herself to the guy she likes, and only then on the level of a petulant toddler (unfortunately, no abbreviation for “petulant toddler” rings quite the same way “tsundere” does).

This has me shaking my head, as I tend to think of violent, imposing female characters such as Ezra from Fairy Tail as tsundere, and she is hands-down the most mature regular guild member (excluding officers such as Master Makarov.)  Or perhaps Kaname Chidori from Full Metal Panic, who is always reminding Souske to take tests, not miss class, and prepare for his future.  Maybe Shana of Shakugan no Shana qualifies, with her childlike delight in melon pan and discomfort with emotional intimacy – but there is the small matter of her steady, warrior’s approach to grave matters of life and death.  It is something earned through years of hard battle; something that radiates maturity.  Of course, even if the facts may appear to be in disagreement with their assertion, Colony Drop is not mistaken about such things; rather, I am. Take it from them:

We’re both perfect and awesome.

How can anyone argue with that?

All that awesome perfection aside, this is where it gets interesting:

It’s sad that our trolling gets more attention than our positive posts . . . but that’s basically the state of anime blogging.

Assuming, arguendo, that this is true (they know their own statistics and have no reason to lie), is the inference warranted?  Granted, it’s quite possible that many people that only stop by this site when drama pops up, but even so – even so – is that the most intuitive conclusion to reach given that fact?  It happens at one site, thus, it must happen this way at all sites? Or might there be some other explanation for these facts?  Is there some other explanation for the phenomenon where a site posts all kinds of articles and only some get attention?  Hmmm.

Let us leave it to the readers to decide, as ever.  Or not, as Sean of Colony Drop tips the audience to the fact that comments are selectively deleted:

I’m kind of torn on allowing those brain dead type comments, as while they’re amusing to see idiots get offended but unable to argue for something coherently, it kind of kills any sort of actual discussion.

That’s right, far from brooking discussion of the matter like on an everyday anime blog, you have to be allowed to comment, and if allowed, be thankful that your feeble mental workings are deemed worthy of their elevated discourse.  Who knew?

Ben elaborates,

If we’re going to get any mature, civil discussion about the ultimate merit of Haruhi, it’s probably going to have to be a few years removed . . . and in at least a few cases, to allow certain of its audience to mature . . . Haruhi is very much an enamored-youth “holy shit, these guys GET me” kind of show.

Except that, even if you’re a generation older, the ADD qualities will instead function as caricature of those impatient young kids you continually encounter.  It works pretty well – oh wait, I must be wrong.  In fact, I have to be wrong.  I mean, look, I’ve been taking all this seriously, and Ben has admitted it’s just trolling.  So, to take it seriously makes me the idiot.  And yet to not take it seriously means I am intellectually sloppy and my comment is unworthy of their august website!  Woe!

It’s – it’s almost like . . . I’m trying to argue with Haruhi.


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18 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have to take issue with your comments on the supposed police-state nature of the CD comment section. In your statement that comments are selectively deleted, and how you cite Sean’s remark as evidence behind it, you completely fail to mention the context: namely the first comment itself. (Link: http://www.colonydrop.com/index.php/2009/06/24/operation-british-phase-three?blog=1#c329).

    • Certainly there are comments which are without merit. This does nothing to change the fact that the practice of filtering for merit is highly questionable. Comment No. 1 is part of the context (incidentally, I linked the comments section in the preceding text, so I did provide the context), but it is not the entire context: consider that a grammatically incorrect but entirely topical post is linked to, and dismissed by, Sean as “incoherent” and misinformed, and something CD “shouldn’t encourage.” Given that Sean is the very same person who makes the earlier statement about comments being deleted, can you really say that it isn’t fair to infer that a value judgment about comments is being made? He is clearly sorting them into “worthy” and “unworthy” categories, even if only in his mind. Of course, we on the outside have no way of knowing what is or isn’t deleted. We can only look at the facts: 1. Some comments are deleted. 2. Sean has strong ideas about what is and is not a worthy comment. 3. His ideas about what is not worthy include topical analysis that is merely poorly formatted rather than irrelevant.

      • We’ve allowed in every non-spam comment posted on any of our posts, but if you can’t see the difference between a random 4chan kid posting dumb shit and a legitimate comment that’s an actual response to the post in question I’m not sure if I can help you.

        As for the blog post I dismissed, I had no reason not to dismiss it. Perhaps if the people behind it would like to be taken seriously they should post coherent comments on the post in question, rather than posting chat logs on their own blog which doesn’t evem allow for comments.

        We did everyone the favor of a well written post, but with the exception of Plot Shield, anime bloggers can’t be arsed to participate in any sort of actual discussion.

      • “We’ve allowed in every non-spam comment posted on any of our posts.”

        I think you’re missing the point, which is that we the readers have no way of verifying or knowing that. See, we only have those 3 facts I mentioned above, which make it look entirely plausible that you’re filtering things based on your own whims. You even go back and say, “As for the blog post I dismissed, I had no reason not to dismiss it,” thereby reinforcing your bias against a category of topical statements. You did have a reason not to dismiss it: it was topical. Whether this reason was sufficient to overcome your dislike for it is another story, but the reason does exist.

        Also, given that we’re having a discussion now – given that the blog post at the link you provided was a discussion – given that some bloggers post nothing but discussions – don’t you think it’s a little silly to assert that only CD has discussions? Or are only CD’s discussions the true discussions, just like “no true Scotsman” would do something that a Scottish politician would be embarrassed by?

        “We did everyone the favor of a well written post,” you assert, but despite probably 1000 words worth of responses from three of you, I have yet to see any remedy for the flaws in some of the categorical assertions made. Going from that, it seems CD would rather come up with ways to discount any and all criticisms of their post rather than address the actual issues, like assertions over the meaning of harem anime, tsundere, etc. Or is this part of your extended trolling?

    • moritheil: Looking through the comment dashboard at this very moment, I can’t see a single comment on the Haruhi post — even the more distasteful ones from /a/ — that was purged after publication, so I am really not sure what you’re talking about at all. Pretty much everyone who can post on CD can moderate comments, and looking back through the dashboard, I can’t see a single disallowed comment that wasn’t literally a spambot. If we were going to filter a real comment, it would have been one of the initial batch from 4chan, but all of those comments that I can see in the dashboard have been published.

      I can understand why you are afraid that we are secretly hiding a batch of eloquent, poetic rebuttals to our simian screeching, and to be uncharacteristically honest (no, really!), I wish you were not mistaken. But we have low readership to begin with, and so the vast majority of our comments come from preaching to the converted (or the mostly converted) who are already on our blogroll, or, well, from the crank file. (And we get some DOOZIES from the crank file! Take a look at the nice lady[?] who replied to my Terrahawks post!) If somebody wants to put us on our place on our own blog, we are not afraid, and if you approach us with anything remotely resembling the style you exhibit here on your own blog, no matter how you may disagree with or embarass us, I can assure you that your comment will be published without a second thought. (Well, maybe there’ll be a lot of whining in IRC afterwards. But the point is, we won’t delete it afterward!) If you still can’t take our word for it, I could always provide you with screenshots of the admin.php with IPs censored…but of course I could doctor those easily enough. Boy, the Internet sure is a screwy place, ain’t it?

      But I can understand your fear that we’re secretly censoring valid opinions. Hell, that’s our main beef with anitations! I certainly wouldn’t claim, as you do, that we are supposedly the only anime blog trying to facilitate actual debate and discussion on opinions offered, but I daresay (how DARE I!) that we take a damn better stab at discussion than they do, given that they completely disallow comments from non-contributors. The strong impression we at CD get from such a policy is that they are much less inclined to brook dissent than we are! They don’t even have the decency to come and humiliate us on our own turf — they’ve rendered their verdict, and now their only care is to broadcast how much fun they’re having at their little tea party to the rabble outside.

      We would gladly address the semantics (and I don’t mean that in a derisive way, this is English! Semantics are fuckin’ hardcore in this tongue!) raised by the anitations crew, but the fact that they don’t allow commentary from anywhere but their own ranks strongly suggests to us that, well, they don’t really want to listen! We could post rebuttals on our own blog, of course, but (a) that looks very awkward whether we do it in comments or a standalone post, and (b) they can just as easily spin that as passive-aggressive sour grapes from the barbarians outside the gates. (Perhaps it’s just my Philistine ancestry speaking, but I was always a bigger fan of ACTIVE aggression on the Internet!) Somehow I’m not convinced that such an exchange would come off any better than building a Trojan rabbit to assault those flouncy French taunters. (Cheese-eating bastards…)

  2. Greetings, friends! Ben from Colony Drop here, just dropping in to clear up a couple little misunderstandings here. Boy, that was some post, wasn’t it? I think each and every one of us learned something from that last one!

    First of all, I really, REALLY hate to ruin the joke here, but the reaction of supposedly rational, more open-minded anime pundits to our little polemic indulgence has kinda baffled the hell out of us. So here’s the skinny: our comments about being perfect, infallible, high and mighty, vastly superior — 90% of the time, that stuff is just schtick! To some degree, it’s even parody, because I assure you, the irony of getting high-and-mighty about preferring one mode of silly Japanese cartoon to another is lost on NONE of our contributors. So let’s not get all bent out of shape about delusions of grandeur, eh? I assure you, none of us at Colony Drop believe that we’re any less fallible than anyone who reads us. We’re just more AWESOME about it than most.

    “Just” trolling is really kind of a misrepresentation of what the Haruhi post, or really the British features in general, are all about. To some extent, we do want to get some people angry with this stuff (we love attention and we’re very, very insecure, please don’t ignore us!), but it’s not really out of a maniacal desire for schadenfreude as it is to get people THINKING about WHY certain opinions make them angry. REFLECTION is the name of our game here. Does the idea of trashing Haruhi make people mad because we’re a bunch of mean ol’ jerks who just want to destroy something beautiful? Or does it make them mad because, consciously or subconsciously, they realize that they hadn’t thought particularly hard about something they enjoyed, and were to some extent embarrased by that realization? We live in a very rationalist society here in Internet land, and that kind of stuff tends to affend us!

    This is certainly not to say that we spacenoids are immune to such things (easily attributable to our heightened Newtype awareness), or that anyone who comes to the second conclusion are worthless and should be ashamed of themselves. Nobody on this Earth is at all times 100% rationally reflective of the things they do and the things they enjoy. We just want to encourage people to take a few steps back and admit to themselves when they’re enjoying something because it’s silly or stupid while trying to convince themselves that it’s actually VERY SMART, VERY SERIOUS, and VERY RESPECTABLE. There’s no shame in enjoying something for silly reasons, folks! Hell, just look at me and Eva! Every time I try to prop it up to myself as some kind of transcendent masterpiece of pop-art postmodernism with a serious and heartfelt outlook on existentialism and various neuroses, I have to step back and remind myself that this was a show that devoted an entire episode to putting Asuka in a fatsuit, inside her robot-mom inside ITS OWN fatsuit and sending her into a volcano to knife-fight a big fish, all with a 22-minute setup to a pun on “thermal expansion” when Shinji gets a boner in the hot springs at the end! Smart stuff, indeed! But I still love it dearly for what it is, however stupid and counterintuitive it may be.

    That last part, I think, is the main source of CD’s mostly-agreed (not all of us hate Haruhi, just look at poor, deluded Jason!) beef with Haruhi. Haruhi seems to have one very strong parallel with Eva in its prime, in that the people who will defend it to the death come off as (note that I didn’t say “are”) incredibly desperate to prop it up as something prodigiously clever and transcendent, to convince themselves that this show only speaks to the truly perceptive, rather than being a (however transparent and self-aware) cynical show to mobilize otaku dollars! Haruhi fans, for the most part, seem absolutely terrified by the notion that they are ENJOYING a silly stupid show, and by extension are quite obviously irredeemably silly or stupid themselves! Rather than getting defensive when this thought creeps into our heads, shouldn’t we learn to laugh at it? If bad movies and bad anime have taught me anything, a good sense of ironic humor regarding the things we love is absolutely integral to getting over ourselves and loving who we are rather than what we think we ought to be. (But don’t despair, Colony Drop fans, we won’t be getting over ourselves anytime soon!)

    One of the things about writing for Colony Drop that I truly love is the fact that we are NOT a monolithic block of sycophancy (sycophantry? sycophantasm?), out to parade around how smart we are because we never disagree, except with the barbarians pounding at our pearly gates. In the past month alone I can recall at least a half dozen topics on which one or more of us came to significant disagreement about the merits of a given title (not the least of which would be Haruhi and Char’s Counterattack), and you wanna know what? (No you don’t, but here I go anyway!) That’s perfectly okay with us! We love the fact that we’re not a homogeneous hivemind, because it reflects the fact that we like to step back and THINK about the things we enjoy/don’t enjoy and WHY we enjoy/don’t enjoy them!

    Apologies for engorging your comment box. Take care and God bless!

    — Ben from Colony Drop

    • Well, Pegas, that’s the end of THAT interchangeable space robot! Boy, what a battle that was!


    • No problem. Of course, you realize that while I am nominally raising your perfection as an answer to all the counterexamples, it doesn’t really function as an answer. This is deliberate, as I intended to just pass the joke back. I don’t mind self-deprecating humor; I just have to note that aside from “CD is perfect” there is nothing that addresses these counterexamples. If the article is to be taken seriously, this constitutes a flaw.

      As for Haruhi and the hatred or love thereof – I am on record supporting diversity. My support for a plethora of opinions is tempered only by a desire to see informed opinions.

  3. Also, so as to clear up any misconceptions about who actually wrote the piece — don’t let my windbaggery fool you; I did not write the Haruhi post. (Obviously, this indicates that I am entirely too stupid to write anything of the sort.)

    The post itself was actually drafted by contributor Dave (himself the intrepid warrior of the excellent subatomicbrainfreeze.typepad.com), but was given the COLONY DROP STAFF appellation to indicate not so much a unanimous agreement on the merits of Haruhi (it certainly wasn’t) as it was a consensus that the opinion was worth expressing as part of Operation British. We all feel we have a stake in discussing this issue, and thus we post it as part of British under the ‘Staff’ designation.

    It’s more of a form thing than anything else. We have a very, VERY loose command structure up here at Side 3, and pretty much anything we publish, we publish via consensus after a period of internal editing and review, during which we invite everyone to comment and participate. (Or at least I do, because I’m very insecure and I need to be loved.)

    • I like Subatomicbrainfreeze. It’s just that the message is not the messenger. This blog exists to poke fun at everyone who makes mistakes, and I’ve even tried bringing someone on board to lampoon me (alas, they ultimately declined.) So please – don’t take it personally. It’s about the writing.

  4. mori: Dude, CD are not Owen. They’re way better than that.

  5. Just to add I didn’t appoint myself anything, and certainly not “Defender of the Faith”, which history tells me is a title only the Pope has the power to bestow, or whatever the equivalent in the Church of Haruhi is.

    Not sure what the fuss is here. Colony Drop wrote a very good post with a bunch of well-made points. So far the criticisms of what they wrote have been feeble, and have in large part confirmed all the accusations they have levelled at Haruhi fans. Most of the attacks on the CD article have just been people moaning about how they don’t like their attitude or people with their heads up their arses bitching about nitpicking, hair-splitting points. Seriously, who actually *cares* whether Haruhi is a harem anime or not? I can feel myself getting dumber just thinking about the question, to be honest.

  6. Great post!

  7. Pretty cool post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say
    that I have really liked reading your blog posts. Anyway
    I’ll be subscribing to your blog and I hope you post again soon!

  8. hmmm, great post

  9. […] Ghostlightning raged, “SHE FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU, when I was SHIPPING HER WITH colony drop’s Sean!” […]

  10. […] people know. ANN is, of course, far from the only site CD has targeted.  Their twitter history and blogging are a fusillade of insults: @ANNZac Instead of worrying about this fansub crap, how about worrying […]

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